4 Tips To Fix TIGHT Hamstrings (Stop JUST Stretching!)

4 Tips To Fix TIGHT Hamstrings (Stop JUST Stretching!)

Can’t touch your toes?

Hamstrings always feel tight?

STRETCHING Alone isn’t the answer!

In this video I want to share why stretching your hamstrings more may actually be perpetuating the issues and what you should be doing instead.

Now I’m not saying stretching is bad, BUT just because a muscle feels tight doesn’t mean that stretching is the answer.

In the case of our hamstrings, we have to understand why they are tight to realize why stretching is often making matters worse.

Our hamstrings can often become tight because they are actually already OVERSTRETCHED or even compensating for weak or underactive glutes.

This often happens because our hip flexors become tight and overactive or even our ankle mobility is lacking.

This shortening of our hip flexors can lead to excessive anterior pelvic tilt or a change in our posture that can lead to our hamstrings becoming overstretched.

And with this change in our posture, often our glutes don’t function as they should.

So then when we stretch our hamstrings, we may get temporary relief but we aren’t actually addressing the problem.

So what should you do instead?

These 4 steps can help us improve our hamstring flexibility by actually addressing the true mobility and stability issues!

First…Foam Roll Your Hamstrings.

If you always feel your hamstrings during any glute exercises they may be synergistically dominant and working instead of letting your glutes be the prime mover. 

Part of this happens because of our mind-body connection. We have that recruitment pattern ingrained which means our mind asks our hamstrings to work FIRST over using our glutes the way we should.

By first foam rolling your hamstrings, you can relax this muscle to better allow yourself to recruit your glutes. This is a great way to release the muscle WITHOUT stretching.

To roll out your hamstrings a ball on a bench works best. 

Sit on the ball with it under the back of your leg. Find a tight spot anywhere down your hamstring and hold on it. Lift your leg out in front of you to tense and relax the muscle.

Do this about 5 times and move to another spot. Focus on a few different tight areas before switching sides.

If you’re doing this for the first time, it’s not bad to roll along under your butt and then down toward your knee, even moving from the outside of your leg toward your inner thigh to find what’s tight for you!

Next…Stretch Your Hip Flexors And Ankles.

Part of that perpetual hamstring tightness might be a lack of mobility at our hips or ankles. 

This immobility leads to improper posture in everyday life, making our hamstrings feel like they’re constantly tight. 

That’s why you want to include this side lying hip and quad stretch in your routine to stretch out those tight hip flexors as well as the bear squat to foot stretch to improve your ankle and foot mobility. 

This can help you avoid your hamstrings being strained or overworked while being able to be better get those glutes engaged.

While you can do the side lying hip and quad stretch standing, the side lying variation is great if you have balance issues or can’t focus on that true hip extension while standing.

As you pull your heel back toward your butt, sqeeuze your glute to truly extend your hip. The knee flexion and hip extension will stretch out those hip flexors.

If you can’t reach your foot, you can loop a towel around your ankle to pull your heel back with that.

Relax out and repeat that same movement. Really focus on engaging the glute to truly extend that hip and stretch those hip flexors.

If you feel your hamstring cramp as you bring your heel back in, conscious relax your foot over allowing your ankle to flex. And focus on that glute!

With the bear squat with foot stretch, you’ll work to improve your ankle mobility as well as your foot mobility.

With this stretch, start on your hands and knees then sit back on your heels. You can rock side to side sitting back. Then place your hands back down on the ground and lift your butt up toward the ceiling as you drive your heels down toward the ground.

You can pedal your feet or hold for a second then lower down and sit back.

If you can’t sit back on your heels without pain, or have knee pain kneeling down, you can do a great ankle mobility movement, placing the ball of your foot on a plate weight or dumbbell and then driving your knee forward while keeping your heel down.

This move is best done without shoes on if you can but will then be more intense on your toes.

Now let’s address your glutes.

Focused glute activation moves like the glute bridge will not only stretch out your hip flexors but they’ll improve your hip stability through strengthening and activating your glutes. 

Strong glutes mean you won’t be relying on those hamstrings as much so they don’t just keep feeling tight from being overworked!

The one thing you have to be conscious of though is WHAT DO YOU FEEL WORKING?!

If you let your hamstrings compensate while doing the right moves, you’ll perpetuate your hamstring issues and they will keep feeling tight. 

In order for the glute activation work to pay off, you have to feel your glutes working as that prime mover.

If you struggle with even that bodyweight glute bridge, try the frog bridge instead. That external hip rotation can be helpful. Or you can use a mini band to even help engage that glute medius more which will help the glute max fire better. 

Just make sure you aren’t arching your back or pushing yourself backward as you do the move. 

Focus on a slight posterior pelvic tilt and only bridging up as high as you can control using your glutes! 

For more tips to help you really use the glute bridge to improve your hamstring flexibility by improving your glute activation, CLICK HERE.

Using these key moves you can improve your hamstring flexibility and see those results truly last.

Stop wasting time stretching and address the true mobility and stability issues that are going on!

Flexibility Secrets To Make You Feel Younger

Flexibility Secrets To Make You Feel Younger

Ever feel like you wake up and everything is more sore tired and achy than it used to be after your hardest workout?

Like you aged even a decade overnight?

Feel like your flexibility just POOF, disappeared?

What if I told you that to get it back there was one simple solution….

Stop just stretching more.

Because while most of us think we want to be more flexible, what we actually want is more than that.

We want to improve not only our flexibility but also our mobility and stability.

We don’t want to get up out of bed and feel like everything is in need of oil.

We don’t want to struggling with aches and pains going up and down stairs or getting up and down off the ground.

We want to feel like we can take on any hiking, biking or fitness challenge that comes our way.

That’s why I want to share 4 common reasons why our flexibility work isn’t often paying off the way we’d like and how we can get better results faster.


But first I want to clarify what the heck these three terms – flexibility, mobility and stability really mean.

Flexibility is really the ability of a muscle, or muscle group, to lengthen and stretch.

Mobility is the ability of joints to move through a full range of motion.

Stability is the ability to control and maintain joint movement and position.

All three of these things are linked. If you don’t work on all three components ultimately you won’t see the results you’re really after.

Without proper muscle flexibility, you will have restricted joint range of motion and stability.

Without proper joint range of motion, you’ll have restricted muscle flexibility and joint stability.

Without proper joint stability, you’ll have restriction joint mobility and muscle flexibility.

When we realize how much each component impacts the other, we can adjust our training to address all three components together to see better results faster.

And often not seeing these 3 components as linked is why our flexibility training is getting us the benefits we’d like.

Now how can you make changes that don’t waste your time and have you feeling like you’re moving better than you did a decade ago?

#1: We’re spending time stretching muscles we shouldn’t.

If a muscle feels tight, we often think we need to stretch it.

And while many muscles that feel tight can actually be shortened and in need of stretching, we have to realize that this isn’t always the case.

When this isn’t the case, stretching can actually make matters worse.

So it’s key we are able to determine the underlying cause of tightness first.

A muscle can become tight because of a lack of joint stability or even improper joint mobility or alignment.

Our body wants to protect itself.

If a joint is unstable, it will do what it can to create stability, which means potentially creating muscular tension.

It may mean we create tension in a muscle that really shouldn’t be working that hard to provide that stability.

Until you actually address the muscle that is weak and underactive not supporting the joint the way it should, this muscle will keep becoming tight no matter how much you stretch it.

And even stretching it may perpetuate the instability already there or make it harder to activate the underactive muscle.

Stretching may also make matters worse if a muscle becomes tight because of joint alignment or restricted joint mobility.

Muscles can feel tight because they are actually overstretched.

Take for instance our hamstrings.

They are actually a great example often of a lack of joint stability and joint alignment or positioning causing tightness over a muscle actually being shortened.

So many of us have thought to ourselves “I need to stretch my hamstrings more. They feel so tight!”

But often in the case of our hamstrings, they are actually overstretched due to tight hip flexors from sitting far too long at our computers or traveling in our car.

They may also be tight because of underactive glutes not doing their part to help with pelvic alignment and hip stability so tension is created to help provide stability where it is lacking.

Because of this, while it may feel like you should stretch your hamstrings, stretching actually makes matters worse.

Instead you’d be better served by doing activation work for your glutes and stretching of your hip flexors to restore proper joint mobility and stability.

This correction of postural distortions will ultimately actually HELP your hamstring flexibility without stretching them!

Which leads me to reason #2 we often aren’t seeing the results we’d like from our flexibility work…

#2: We’re not focusing on engaging the opposing muscle group during stretches.

How many times have you done a stretch and just tried to feel the muscle stretching?

Most of us have done this.

And sometimes you even do a stretch and think, “I don’t really feel this that much.” Priding yourself on how flexible you even are in that position.


“I stretch this all of the time, why isn’t it helping!?”

I see this often with hip stretches.

People supposed stretch their hip flexors a ton, but they never see improvements in their hip mobility.

But it’s because they actually aren’t really stretching the muscles they think they are in the movements.

Too often with moves we go through the motions, mimicking the movements.

And our body takes the path of least resistance, often finding mobility or flexibility from the easiest areas…often the areas that aren’t even tight.

So we end up doing a hip flexor stretch to arch our lower backs or not engage our glutes.

Instead of just mimicking a movement pattern or even thinking about the muscle we want to stretch, we need to focus on engaging the opposing muscle group.

The muscle driving the stretch.

If you want to stretch your hips, focus on squeezing your glutes to drive the hip extension.

If you want to stretch your chest to prevent those rounded shoulders, focus on engaging your upper back to open up your chest.

Not only does engaging the opposing muscle group stretch what you’re trying to stretch, but it can also improve your mind-body connection to activate underactive muscle groups which will also improve your joint mobility and stability as well!

If you’re looking to learn more about specifically improving your hip stretches, check out the video HERE.

#3: We’re sabotaging our flexibility gains with our strength workouts.

Strength work is essential if you want to maintain your flexibility, mobility and stability.

However, too often we do our strength training only working in one plane of motion or not through the fullest range of motion we truly can.

If we want to be more flexible, more mobile and more stabile, we need to build strength through a full range of motion.

This takes what we may passively be able to move through and makes it an active movement we can control.

Only when you do your strength work through a bigger range of motion do you keep the flexibility of muscles you worked hard to create.

If you do your strength work in a small range of motion, you will keep just tightening muscles back up!

So if you’ve worked to improve your hip flexor flexibility and hip mobility, make sure your strength workouts do include movements to go through this full range of motion even if it means going lighter to start.

Lunge lowering your knee to the ground.

Perform step ups from a higher box.

But strength through that full range of motion to maintain it!

Otherwise your flexibility and mobility work will constantly be negated by your other training and you won’t then improve your joint stability through that full range of movement!

#4: Stop just including a “recovery” or flexibility workout.

While having a day set aside each week to specifically and solely work on your flexibility, mobility and even stability is amazing, you need to address these components every single workout to see the best results as fast as possible.

We get good at what we consistently do.

And most of us aren’t truly patient enough for a single weekly session to add up over time.

Not to mention so much of the postures and positions we put ourselves in on a daily basis work against what we’re trying to accomplish.

So if we want the best results possible, every warm up should include this flexibility, mobility and stability work.

And this is why that 3-Part Prehab Process is so key!

By including foam rolling, stretching and activation exercises every single warm up, we can consistently be doing small amounts of the mobility work we need more often, especially to reverse our daily postures.

And not only that, we can prep our body to move better during our training so we can strengthen through that fuller range of motion, maintaining the muscle flexibility we’ve worked hard to create.

Doing this mobility, flexibility and stability work in our warm up also allows us to make sure the correct muscles are working so we don’t perpetuate muscles being overused and becoming tight due to improper joint alignment or instability.

Instead of stressing a super long flexibility workout, try just even 10 minutes as a warm up before every workout! Those small consistent sessions done to help you get more out of your workouts will add up more than you realize!

For my full podcast on the 3-Step Prehab process, click HERE.

Just remember if you want to improve your flexibility, you can’t ignore the importance of also working on your joint mobility and stability.

Be intentional with your training and realize that you want to always include things with a purpose while you focus on what you truly feel working!

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Target your SERRATUS ANTERIOR (Stop Ignoring this Muscle!)

Target your SERRATUS ANTERIOR (Stop Ignoring this Muscle!)

All too often when we are focused on improving our shoulder health to prevent aches and pains, we focus on strengthening our rotator cuff.

We may also do some foam rolling or release for our pecs and lats as well knowing they can inhibit proper shoulder mobility.

But we can’t only focus directly on our shoulders if we have shoulder and even neck pain…

We have to realize that our shoulder health is dramatically impacted by both our spinal and scapular mobility and stability as well.

And one muscle in particular is often overlooked when we are suffering from neck and shoulder pain – a muscle that can impact our scapular stability and even be impacted by our thoracic mobility…

This muscle is the Serratus Anterior!

Before I share 3 key moves to include to help activate your Serratus Anterior, and a bonus move to improve your thoracic extension, it’s key we understand why and how our Serratus Anterior can impact our shoulder health, even contributing to scapular winging, shoulder impingement, bursitis, thoracic outlet syndrome, and even neck aches and pains!

What Does The Serratus Anterior Do?

You can find and feel your Serratus Anterior by putting your hand on your ribs just below your armpit.

This muscle protracts or pulls the shoulder blade forward around the rib cage and upwardly rotates and posteriorly tilts the shoulder blade which helps you press overhead safely without shoulder or neck issues, or overload to those smaller muscles like your rotator cuff.

The Serratus Anterior also holds the shoulder blade against the rib cage by posteriorly tipping and externally rotating the scapula. This is the opposite of the scapular winging issue we often seen.

Because of how the Serratus Anterior stablizes and moves the shoulder blade you can see how it would create scapular dysfunction such as scapular winging and poor scapular control leading to shoulder and neck issues.

That’s why it’s key we address weakness of this muscle, even potentially strengthening it on one side!

So what are 3 Key Moves To Activate The Serratus Anterior?

#1: Roller Serratus Anterior Activation

To keep our shoulders healthy, we want to strengthen all of the joint actions controlled by the Serratus Anterior, which means not only working on the protraction that so many Serratus Anterior moves address, but also that upward rotation and posterior tipping.

That’s why a move that works as you press overhead can be key.

Especially if you find you struggle with controlling the overhead press or shoulder and neck pain during that move, try including this move in your warm up activation series.

To do Roller Serratus Anterior Shoulder Extensions, place a small roller, or even sliders, against a wall pinned about at your wrist with your palms facing in toward each other.

The roller should be at about eye height to start. Your arms should be about shoulder-width or just slightly wider apart.

Walk your feet back so you just are angled into the wall and resting a bit of your weight against the roller. You don’t want to fall forward or be dependent on your arms because as you slide up you will lean more into the roller.

You can stagger your feet if that feels more comfortable. Brace your abs as you face the wall and then begin to roll your arms up, extending from your shoulder overhead.

Lean into the wall as you extend. Do not arch your lower back as you extended up. Think of pulling your shoulder blades “out and around” as you slide up.

Then slide back down. You may feel your upper traps slightly but do NOT allow them to compensate.

If you feel your lower back taking over, stagger your feet to help maintain a neutral spine. And if you want to progress this movement, walk further back from the wall to lean more into the roller.

#2: Serratus Anterior Press

The push up plus is a super common Serratus Anterior activation move, but also one that is far more challenging than we give it credit for.

And when we are trying to really isolate and activate a muscle, sometimes it is best to regress a movement so we can really focus on what we feel working.

That’s why I love Wall Protractions. They are a great way to really focus in on simply learning to control scapular protraction. You can even make them unilateral by doing one side at a time.

To do Wall Protractions, stand facing a wall with your hands made into fists. Place your knuckles against the wall with your palms facing in toward each other and your arms extended out at shoulder height. Stand tall and brace your abs.

Then without bending your arms or moving your feet or body, push the wall away with your knuckles.

Feel like you are trying to spread your shoulder blades as far apart as you can without just rounding your back or tucking your hips. It may be a very small movement, especially to start.

Pause then relax out before again pushing the wall away.

Do not arch your lower back to try to make the move bigger or tuck your chin.

If you feel in control of this movement and aren’t trying to make it seem bigger by bending your arms or rounding, you can then move to an incline or even a plank position off the ground.

And if you do have an imbalance, try one side at a time off the wall.

#3: Wall Protractions:

If you do have an imbalance or issue on one side, you want to include unilateral activation, even only doing strength work on that one side.

That’s why the Serratus Anterior Press can be a great move to include. The unilateral focus will allow you to target each side independently.

To do the Serratus Anterior Press, start in a staggered stance with the opposite foot forward from the hand holding the band in at your chest. Move out from the band so there is tension even while your hand is up at your chest. You want to start light with this move as you want to really focus on feeling around your ribs working over your pec muscles working.

Standing tall, press the band out from your chest and slightly up at an incline. Feel yourself pulling your shoulder blade forward around your ribs as you reach out. You aren’t just doing a unilateral chest press.

You may press slightly across the midline of your body as you reach out to protract the shoulder blade, but you aren’t just twisting through your spine.

Then slowly bring your hand back in toward your chest. Do not rotate toward the anchor point.

You want to focus on the movement being felt around your ribs as you protract your shoulder blade or pull it away from your spine.


If you’re struggling to activate your Serratus Anterior and limited in your thoracic extension, using this foam rolling move prior to your activation work can be key – The Peanut Thoracic Extension.

This move can help you relax tight muscles and work on that thoracic extension.

To do this move, you can use a peanut, which can easily be made by taping two balls together or tying them in a sock. Lie on your back placing the peanut in your mid-back with a ball on either side of your spine.

Place your hands behind your head, pulling your elbows open as you relax over the peanut.

Breathe and hold for a second, then crunch up and relax back down. Do a few of the crunches, extending back over, before moving the peanut up your spine.


We have to remember that everything is connected. And if we lack mobility and stability in one area, it could lead to overload and injury in another. That is why addressing weakness of our Serratus Anterior can be so key if we’ve been struggling with scapular winging or shoulder and neck aches and pains.

And then remember, you can NEVER stop doing what makes you feel better. That prehab work is key!

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IT Band Pain?! Don’t Ignore THIS Muscle

IT Band Pain?! Don’t Ignore THIS Muscle

IT Band issues that just won’t fully seem to go away?

Frustrated that every time you seem to build up the mileage or start lifting heavy that old pain comes back and even starts to aggravate your hips and knees….maybe even your ANKLES?!

If you’ve been struggling with annoying IT Band issues, it’s time you paid attention to this hip flexor muscle…

The TFL or tensor fasciae latae.

Before I go over 3 moves you can include in your prehab routine to prevent the pain and overload, I want to discuss how the TFL can lead to IT Band problems.

So let’s break down what the TFL does…

The TFL contributes to hip abduction (lifting your leg out to the side), hip flexion (bringing your knee up toward your chest) and hip internal rotation (rotating your hip to turn your leg in toward your other leg).

At your pelvis it assists in anteriorly tilting you pelvis, which, if the muscle is tight, can lead to excessive arching of your lower back.

And at the knee it also contributes to tibial external rotation, which is what causes your foot to turn out.

This hip flexor muscle has the power to impact your lower leg because of the tension it creates through your IT Band.

And this is why it’s key we look beyond just the exact point of pain.

When our TFL becomes tight and overactive it can have a far reaching impact.

But most notably it often starts to compensate for an underactive and weak glute medius.

The glute medius is supposed to be our primary hip abductor.

HOWEVER, if the TFL becomes shortened and overactive, it may restrict our glute medius from firing effectively and efficiently and even try to carry more of the load than it should.

This is then what can create tension through the IT Band and accumulate leading to overload and injury.

So how can you tell if your TFL is taking over for your glute medius?

Have you ever done Mini Band Monster Walks or Lateral Raises and really felt your hips burning?

Like you end up rubbing the front outside of your upper thighs instead of the sides of your butt?

That may be because the TFL is trying to take over for your glute medius instead of allowing it to work as it should!

That’s why I wanted to share 3 mobility and stability exercises, and some key form cues to help you relax your TFL if it has become overactive and tight while better activating your glute medius so you can avoid IT Band aches and pains.


3 Moves To Help Prevent IT Band Issues:

Exercise #1: TFL Foam Rolling

It is key we first start with relaxing the overactive and tight muscle. Often otherwise we tend to keep performing improper recruitment patterns during the moves meant to make us better.

For instance during any glute medius abduction activation move, we still tend to let our TFL take over when it is overactive as that muscle does assist in abduction.

So doing all of the “right moves” ultimately doesn’t pay off the way we had hoped.

That’s why before you do activation, you want to foam and relax the TFL.

To roll out your TFL, a ball works best but you can use a roller if a ball applies too much pressure.

To find your TFL, lie on your back with your legs out straight and hands just in front of your hip bones under your pelvis, internally rotate your hip and feel that muscle contract.

You will want to lie on your side with the ball positioned there. Hold and breathe, lifting and lowering your leg as you hold to help the muscle relax and release itself.

Exercise #2: Wall Side Bend

This is a great way to stretch your TFL without even going down on the ground.

It is key when you do this move you engage your glute max to drive your hips into extension, even using a slight posterior pelvic tilt as you do.

Because the TFL can contribute to anterior pelvic tilt, by performing posterior pelvic tilt you are actually stretching the short and tight muscle.

To do the Wall Side Bend, stand with your side to the wall and place your forearm and elbow on the wall at about shoulder height or just below. You will then want to step your leg closet to the wall a foot or two from the wall.

Cross your outside foot in front of you toward the wall to help you balance as you then drop your hip toward the wall.

Do not rotate as you drop your inside hip toward the wall. Squeeze your glute and maintain that posterior pelvic tilt even to make sure you don’t lean forward or flex your hips.

Feel a stretch through your TFL and even IT band. Then relax out of the bend before driving your hip again toward the wall.

Exercise #3: Extended ROM Side Lateral Raise

The Clam is such a common move to use for glute medius activation but one that is so often done incorrectly ultimately perpetuating the issue instead of correcting it.

It is also not the move I like to start with because it is so easy for people to allow the TFL to take over, partly because of the hip flexion.

That’s why I love to use the Extended Side Lying Lateral Raise.

Not only does this move put your TFL under a slight stretch while working the glute medius through an extended range of motion, but it also allows you to work from a hip extended posture.

This can help you make sure you engage your glutes.

To do the Extended ROM Side Lateral Raise, lie on your side on a bench so that your bottom knee is bent and your bottom leg is close to the end.

Prop yourself up on your elbow and position yourself so that your top leg can hang down over the edge and your foot is just a few inches off the ground.

Keep that foot parallel to the ground or even turn your toe to slightly face the ground. This internal rotation of your lower leg can help if you tend to feel your TFL engage with lateral raises. Do not rotate open as you lift.

Then lift that top leg up and kick slightly back, feeling your glute medius, or the side of your butt, working to lift your leg.

By kicking slightly back and extending your hip, you’ll engage that glute max to further inhibit your TFL.

Lower that leg back down and repeat the move. You want to fully lower the leg to work through that extended range of motion

To advance the move when you’re ready, you can hold a plate weight on the outside of your top thigh, or wear ankle weights. But don’t make the move harder or progress if you feel your TFL taking over!

If you don’t have a bench, you can try a variation of this from a modified side plank position. Make sure if you do the side plank position to give you that extended range of motion, that you engage your glutes to keep your hips fully extended.


We have to remember that it’s all connected. And tension in one muscle can alter the way we engage and use other muscles resulting in overload and injury.

If you’ve been suffering with IT Band issues, try including these 3 moves as part of your warm up before your runs, rides or lower body lifting sessions.

Complete even just one round through, working for 45 seconds per move per side. Follow the order of foam rolling, stretching then activating for the best results!

If you need even more quick mobility routines?

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The Piriformis Muscle – A Real Pain In The BUTT

The Piriformis Muscle – A Real Pain In The BUTT

Issues with this muscle can be a real pain in the butt…(yeaaaa….bad joke)

I’m taking about the piriformis muscle.

This muscle can not only literally become a pain in the butt but it can also irritate the sciatic nerve leading to pain and irritation all down your leg.

And issues with this muscle can not only arise because of overuse during exercise but even honestly often simply because we’re spending too much time seated.

The first step in preventing and alleviating piriformis aches and pains is understanding what this muscle even does and it’s location.

What Does The Piriformis Do?

The piriformis muscle is a primary hip external rotator and helps with horizontal abduction of the hip when it is flexed to 90 degrees. It also helps stabilize your SI Joint. And can even potentially act as a weak hip extensor if the glute max is underactive.

This muscle becoming short and overactive can not only lead to piriformis syndrome and sciatic nerve compression but also hip and SI Joint issues not to mention lower back and even knee aches and pains.

However, this muscle can ALSO lead to sciatic nerve compression if it becomes lengthened, which creates the interesting question of…

To stretch or not to stretch?

But before I dive into whether or not to stretch this muscle and 3 key prehab moves to include to prevent and alleviate piriformis issues, I do just want to address one thing…

Are Sciatic Pain And Piriformis Issues The Same Thing?

While yes the piriformis muscle can compress or irritate the sciatic nerve and lead to sciatic nerve pain, and this is often what is termed piriformis syndrome, you can have piriformis issues that do not lead to sciatic nerve issues and you can have sciatic nerve compression NOT caused by the piriformis.

I think it’s key we note that sciatic nerve pain doesn’t always mean the piriformis muscle is the problem.

So if you have sciatic nerve pain, it is key you do address the culprit of the irritation or sources of the compression to address your specific mobility restrictions and overactive muscles.

You do want to determine if your compression is coming from your lower back or piriformis or even ankle mobility restrictions leading to compression at another point in your leg!

But if you have determined that the piriformis muscle is the issue, the question now is…..

Should I Stretch It?

The annoying answer is…IT DEPENDS!

Often when muscles become overactive and need to be relaxed and released to alleviate the issues, the muscles become shortened.

This means that you want to foam roll AND stretch the muscle before activating the muscle it is compensating for.

When it comes to our piriformis, when it is shortened and overactive we want to foam roll and stretch it while activating our glute max and our glute medius.

However, the piriformis muscle can also irritate the sciatic nerve when it becomes LENGTHENED.

And, in this case, stretching the muscle may provide even temporary relief but also PERPETUATE the problem.

So getting assessed to determine your exact imbalances and mobility restrictions is always key, but these 3 moves are a great place to start to not only relax an overactive piriformis whether it is shortened or lengthened while activating those underactive glute muscles!

So what are the 3 prehab moves you should be including?

3 Moves To Do To Help:

#1: Piriformis Foam Rolling

To relax and release the piriformis when it is overactive, foam rolling is a key first step. This can help decrease the tension this muscle is even applying to the sciatic nerve.

A ball works best to really apply more pressure, but you can use a roller especially starting out if you can’t relax against the ball. 

To do Piriformis Foam Rolling, find the spot where the top of your back jean pocket would be.

You can then cross the ankle of that leg over the other knee as you lean into that side

When you find a tight spot, hold there and breathe. If you can’t relax as you hold, use a larger or softer ball or even the roller.

You may even find it helpful to lift and lower the leg as you hold to help the muscle relax and release itself.

Or, if more comfortable, you can even relax back onto your forearms as you hold.

#2: Bench Rotational Half Kneeling Hip Stretch

Hip mobility restrictions and even a lack of spinal mobility can often perpetuate piriformis issues.

And also because of the Piriformis’s impact on the SI joint, this Bench Rotational Half Kneeling Hip Stretch can be a key move to include in your prehab work.

To do the Bench Rotational Half Kneeling Hip Stretch, set up placing the top of your back foot on a bench and move to half kneeling on the ground. Make sure you’re not right on your knee back but actually rocked toward your thigh.

Move your front foot out so that knee is bent to about 90 degrees while allowing you to extend that back hip using your glute.

Place your opposite hand from your front foot down on the ground at your instep.

Squeeze your back glute to drive that hip into extension and place your other hand behind your head.

Rotate to bring that elbow back toward your elbow of your arm on the ground. You’re twisting away from that front leg and focusing on rotating through your spine.

The rotate that elbow up toward the ceiling, twisting toward your front leg.

Make sure to squeeze that back glute as you do and do NOT rock out on that front foot to create space.

Rotate open toward that leg then twist back toward that starting position.

You should feel that back hip and quad stretching and even a stretch in the outside of that hip and glute of your front leg.

You’ll also feel this through your spine, especially your thoracic spine.

Move slowly and make sure you don’t just flap your arm!

To modify you can do more of a Spiderman lunge variation with your hand on a bench or incline as you twist!

#3: Wall Side Lying Mini Band Lateral Raise

Your piriformis can become overworked because your glute max and medius are underactive, not only on that same side but even on your opposite side.

That’s why unilateral activation work can become so key.

And because your piriformis assists with horizontal abduction when your hip is flexed to 90 degrees, it can be key to work on activating your glute medius while your hip is extended.

That’s why this Wall Side Lying Mini Band Lateral Raise is such an amazing move to include.

This move works on hip extension to engage your glute max while also working to improve your hips stability and glute medius activation.

To do this exercise, place a mini band around your thighs above your knees. Start light and focus on that control and mind-body connection to really feel your glutes working.

You can bend that bottom leg to help you stabilize and set up lying on your side with your back to the wall. You want to set up a few inches out from the wall so you can kick back slightly into the wall.

Lift your top leg up a few inches off your bottom leg and make sure you do NOT rotate that toe open. You do not want to externally rotate your hip or you’ll engage that piriformis more.

Feel the side of your butt engage as you lift just a bit to create tension through the band. Then drive your heel back into the wall.

From this position, slide your heel up the wall abducting your leg. Perform this lateral raise but do not rotate your hip open to raise up higher.

Lift up and then, keeping tension back into the wall, slowly slide the leg down. Do not lower completely down and lose tension on the band. You want your glute working the entire time.

Focus on feeling your glute medius lifting against the band as you feel your glute max working as you drive your heel back into the wall extending your hip.


If you’ve been suffering from piriformis issues, get on that prehab work! Start addressing this overactive muscle while activating those underactive glutes.

Even start with just 45 seconds per move per side for a quick mobility series.

For the complete prehab process to address aches and pains from head to toe, check out my Injury Prevention Bundle:

–> The Injury Prevent Pack

The Common ENEMY of Your Hips and Shoulders: The Lats

The Common ENEMY of Your Hips and Shoulders: The Lats

Everything is connected.

And all too often the point of pain is NOT where the problem is.

That is why, when you have aches and pains, especially nagging ones that you can’t seem to get rid of, you need to start searching further away from the point of pain.

Take for instance SHOULDER pain.

Often the first “rehab” exercises we start to include focus on shoulder mobility and strengthening of those muscles around the joint.

And this is a great place to start!

But what if, despite you doing all of the proper rehab work, things just aren’t fully getting better?

Or what if you continue to suffer from flare ups that don’t seem to be triggered by any specific upper body exercises that you can identify?

What if the actual culprit of your shoulder pain is an issue at your lumbo-pelvic-hip complex?

That’s right…what if that lower back pain or anterior pelvic tilt or SI joint issue you’ve been having is CONNECTED to your shoulder pain?!

What if your lower back, hips and shoulders have a shared “enemy”?

And what if that shared “enemy” is your LATS or the Latissimus Dorsi!

Because BOTH of these areas are affected by that one muscle.


While we often just think of our lats as a big back muscle, playing a role in our upper body functioning, they can also affect our SI joint via their attachment to the thoracolumbar fascia and even affect the alignment of our pelvis!

So while it may seem crazy, working to correct imbalances at your hip complex could help relax tight and overactive lats and help you alleviate your shoulder aches and pains!

So how exactly are the lats a common enemy of both your hip complex AND your shoulders and what can you do to start correcting the problem?


Ok…your lats aren’t really your enemy…

It’s almost the case of you “blame the messenger”…or the messenger becoming more involved than they should be!

Because our lats are really a bridge between our upper and lower body.

They play a role in stabilizing our shoulders, scapulae (shoulder blades), lumbar spine, sacroiliac joint as well as our pelvis.

The lats have a far reaching impact and affect a TON of structures and movements!

They are a bridge that can perpetuate distortions and compensations from one hemisphere to the other.

They can become tight and overactive due to other muscular imbalances and weaknesses and then lead to aches and pains in the other region.

And for this reason they can be a common “enemy” of both our upper body and lumbo-pelvic-hip complex and SI joint.

Of course the real “enemy” is our rounded-shoulder, flexed posture created by sitting hunched over our technology for 9 hours a day.

A posture that leads to muscles, like the lats becoming tight and overactive, and muscles, like our glutes, becoming underactive.

Underactive glutes can lead to anterior pelvic tilt, hip hikes (if one side is underactive especially) and tight, overactive lats that perpetuate the pain and create upper body dysfunction as well.

Lat tightness can itself create a hip hike on the same side as the tight lat and anterior pelvic tilt and SI joint issues as well.

Both the glute and lat need to work together to protect us and make sure we have the proper mobility and stability.

If these muscles aren’t working well together, this distortion can show up as upper body, specifically even, shoulder aches and pains.

And the lats also can have a DIRECT impact on our shoulder health.

Tight lats can contribute to internally rotated shoulders, or that rounded shoulder posture, as well as restricted shoulder flexion aka your ability to reach overhead.

Ever wonder why you struggle to get your arms overhead to press and end up arching your lower back to compensate?

Tight lats may be part of the problem.

Tight, overactive lats can restrict proper shoulder mobility, negatively impact your shoulder stability, and even impact your scapular mobility as well (and this may be holding you back too from achieving that first full pull up not to mention a culprit of shoulder, upper back and even neck pain!)

Basically, you need to address lat tightness, both tightness of both lats and even an imbalance between the two, and then further investigate if there are distortions at your hip complex or SI joint or actually in your upper body, that may be perpetuating the tightness!

Here are 3 moves to help you get started making sure this “bridge” is functioning well!


These 3 moves will start addressing lat tightness and overactivity while also working to engage them in a productive way to help alleviate and prevent shoulder AND hip aches and pains.

These are perfect moves to include as a restorative session after a long day at work or as part of your warm up for you upper body, or potentially even LOWER BODY, lifting session.

Exercise #1 Half-Kneeling TFL and Lat Stretch:

Want to address hip and shoulder issues in one stretch? Try this Half Kneeling TFL and Lat Stretch!

The TFL can commonly be tight as well which can further inhibit proper glute functioning. So this hip stretch with the reach across is a great way to address lat and TFL tightness in one movement.

To do this stretch set up half kneeling in front of a wall. Squeeze that back glute as you reach your hands overhead on the wall. While leaning slightly forward to reach up the wall, make sure to engage your glute to keep your hip extended.

Reach your arms away from the knee that is back and over and across that front knee. Even turn the palm of the hand in back away from the wall so your palm is facing back. This external shoulder rotation will further stretch your lat. Pause then walk your hands back center and repeat reaching across as you keep that back glute engaged.

Feel the stretch down your side and down the side of your hip.

Exercise #2 Lat Foam Rolling:

A key first step in making sure our lats are functioning correctly is relaxing them when they are overactive. A great way to do this so we can better mobilize the shoulder joint is by foam rolling. You can even include this move before the Half-Kneeling TFL and Lat Stretch. When you do, you’ll be surprised even by how much better of a stretch you get!

Place a roller to the side behind your armpit and lie on your side over the roller. Reach your hand overhead with your palm facing up to stretch your lat as you roll.

Hold on any tight spots as you reach your arm overhead then lower it down in front of your chest. Repeat the slow arm movement as you hold.

Then move the roller to another spot, working down the side of your back and shoulder blade. Then switch sides.

You can also use a ball if you know your exact trigger points and want to apply more pressure or even need to roll out against a wall because you can’t get down on the ground.

Exercise #3 Wall Hip Dips:

Wall Hip Dips are a great way to address unilateral lat issues, or issues only on one side, especially at our lumbo-pelvic-hip complex. This is a great move to help improve your pelvic alignment.

This move is a very modified version of something like the side plank hip dips and is focused on really making sure you’re activating the correct muscles, including your glute medius and obliques, while helping improve your lat flexibility and SI Joint alignment.

To do Wall Hip Dips, stand with your side to the wall and lean into the wall with your upper arm against the wall. You can bend your elbow to 90 degrees to place the back of your forearm against the wall too so you aren’t trying to cheat and rock off the wall.

Your feet should be about a foot from the wall and only a few inches apart at most.

Then drop your hip toward the wall. Do not rotate, but just move laterally.

Then engage your glute and oblique closest to the wall to raise your hip back up. Feel your oblique and glute work to move into almost a “side plank” position.
Then dip back toward the wall to almost feel a stretch down that side closest to the wall.

The further out from the wall, the more mobility you need. So start closer and move away as you can control the move without rotating or letting your shoulder come off the wall.


Remember, the point of pain isn’t always where the problem is! And overload can occur because of immobility or instability at a joint further away from our pain than we’d expect.

It’s why we need to pay attention to muscles and their different attachment points.

It’s why big muscles, like our lats, that bridge from our hips to our shoulders, need to get some extra TLC at times!

Try including these 3 moves as part of your warm up before your next workout if you’ve had shoulder or hip aches and pains you just can’t seem to get rid of!

Looking for 10 minute series to improve your mobility, flexibility and stability from head to toe?

Check out my Injury Prevention Pack: